By Aaron A. Reed
When college roommates and best friends Ryan and Niko discover a hidden passage within their off-campus home, they realize the hidden room is merely the entrance to a much darker, infinite labyrinth. Will their curiosity unveil the secret to everything they desire, or will the tandem be forever imprisoned in their own living hell?
The art and craft of story telling has been around as long as there as been a speaker and a listener. Essentially story telling is the original form of entertainment between two people, existing as long as mankind has. As times change along with it, the refinement of the craft. Methods evolve, genres are manifested, styles are polished. The one thing that remains the same, stays fixed and constant is the challenge in remaining unique and fresh.
Upon the cusp of a new era in 2020, it seems near impossible to refrain from cliché. All the cynics would agree in unison, at one point or another its all been said or done before. With the compounded pressure of a diminishing attention span in contemporary society, if your story doesn’t captivate within seconds, frankly you’re doomed.
Aaron A. Reed manages to shatter all skepticism in Subcutanean. The spell binding tale boasts a regeneration unto each new reader. Quite literally no two copies are the same. Whether tiny details, entire sequences, each version is its stand-alone copy. That’s a fair bit to digest.
Told in first person, point of view from our main character Orion (or Ryan for short) his inner monologue from the opening paragraphs captures readers ruthlessly, refusing to repent page after page. Ryan’s motivation is haunting, if not heart-breaking as the perpetual misfit. Like most outcasts we learn his insecurity swiftly morphs into a psyche of being one’s own worst enemy.
Niko’s character is a formidable and provocative contrast to Ryan. Together they’re like fire and ice. Yet its effective if for no other reason than intrigue, confidence in opposites attract.
As tension clearly exists between the two, we as the reader are ravenous to discover just how the plot escalates. As a result, we’re invested deeper into the fray of the prose, transfixed in a trippy odyssey of what lurks around the next corner.
The author manages to redefine terror in loss of control, vertigo, inertia and claustrophobia. Its evident Reed knows all too well the darkness that resides within and manages to exploit it to all new levels, much to the delight of his audience. Subcutanean is a voyage into the unknown, facing fears in every which way and form. Even the ones we were not aware existed.
Upon conclusion of this novel, I’d personally like to challenge any reader whom doesn’t begin to question reality as we know it. A bold statement but strictly reserved for the most thought provoking of stories. Reed drafts the type of tale that prompts other aspiring creative writers to wish he or she could create something so grandiose. Inspiring to say the least.
Perhaps most noteworthy is the direct lineage or metaphor of the infinite abyss to Ryan’s own inner turmoil. Somehow, he finds courage in the unlikeliest of places, tenacity from seemingly nowhere, perseverance from thin air. All along, maybe the only conquering required was within Ryan himself.
The polished product results in Reed creating a virtuoso in pulse pounding, mind bending horror. Now, I’m curious how does your copy compare?
Subcutanean is slated for release in February 2020. Digital and print copies available. For more information: